by Lekan Olanrewaju
A Federal High court in Lagos on Monday ordered Chief Raymond Dokpesi, owner of Daar Communications Plc to pay the sum of N7.5bn to Fidelity Bank Plc.
The bank filed a suit against Dokpesi and his company seeking the recovery of outstanding debts to the tune of N7,524,772.25, said to be repayment of a loan granted the company to enable it broadcast the FIFA Under-17 World Cup hosted by Nigeria in 2009.
According to the bank, the loan was secured by Dokpesi’s personal guaranty and by all assets debenture on the fixed and floating assets of Daar Communications valued at N21.3bn.
They added that the defendants also secured the loan with a legal mortgage over a property located at 34, Creek Road, Apapa, Lagos belonging to Baldok Shipping Limited.
Dokpesi had claimed he owed the bank about only about N3bn as opposed to N7.5b. The judge however said: “The claim of the plaintiff relates to principally simple uncontested liquidated monetary claim for interest is within the formal agreement of the parties. The matter appears uncontentious and suitable for judgment in favour of the plaintiff.”
“In conclusion judgment is hereby entered in favour of the plaintiff against the defendant in terms contained in the writ of summons filed herein.” he concluded.
The writ of summons stated: “The sum of N7,524,772.25 being the outstanding indebtedness from the credit facilities granted by the plaintiff to the defendant. “Interest on the sum of N7,524,772.25 at 21 per cent per annum from May 31, 2011 until judgment and thereafter at 21 per cent per annum until final liquidation.”
Chief Dokpesi’s lawyer, Chris Uche however announced that his client would appeal the Federal High Court verdict.
He described the judgment as unreasonable, and said the judge made an error by ignoring the notice of intention and a counter-affidavit filed by his client. He also stated that the bank had been paid N4.2 billion by Daar Communications last month.